John Corson's Blog

WRITING & RANTING
for March 29, 2021

IN THE GARDEN LAST NIGHT
THREE REQUESTS MADE TO GOD

Well I went out to the flower garden as I said I would yesterday and spent about a half an hour talking to my Princess. The conversation turned into one directed to God.

I have always found solace and uninterrupted thinking out there in that solitary place, just like Jesus found solace in the various gardens in which He prayed. Except, the Garden of Gethsemane on the night He was arrested. He was in anguish. Last night, I was in anguish.

As I said in yesterday's grumble session (the daily RANT), I was so bitterly disappointed in the attendance at Church. As I am so often prone to do, I went to talk to my little doggie who was laid to rest four-and-a-half years ago. This actions truly allows me to clear my head, not to mention my nasal passages (you see, I often shed many tears while out there and when I am finished I blow my nose! A lot!).

As I was saying, my conversation soon become a talk with God. I said or asked three things of Him last night:

First, I asked God to help my church members feel, sense, and come to know that they are a vital part of the church community and their absence will not only hurt the church, but their very souls themselves. To be absent is duly noted by the few in attendance. Many always come to me and ask, "Where was Joe today?" I hardly ever have the answers to questions like that as most people do not call or email me and let me know before church where they are, what is ailing them or why they are not going to be present. To this moment, I do not know why 22 or more of my regulars weren't present yesterday, nor where they were. But I have already complained about that one yesterday.

Second, that the church doesn't die on my watch! Now that is a doozy, I know, but so many churches are dying throughout America these days. I don't want to be there if this were to happen at my church. Worse, if I were to leave, I don't want my departure to so depress the church so they despair of any searching for a replacement and decide to close up anyway.

Sometimes, and more recently, I have wondered if God placed me there to help facilitate the closure of the church with a view of restarting it - with a new name, new leaders, new style of worship, new emphasis on ministries and the like. I do know that if the church were to cease its "operations" that out the ashes would come a new work, totally different and unlike the present situation. A restart means nothing is the same, except for the people who attend - unless they decide not to attend. Then all new faces "take over" as in most cases church buildings and properties are "gifted" to a new church group, since there would be no "old church" to get the money from a sale.

My third concern I talked with God about last night was: "If I should leave, if you want me to step down, what do I do next? Is there something left for me to do elsewhere? Do I just sit around and merely work at and play with my hobbies?"

What next? Is always a hard question to answer, especially when you have been active all your life and you don't have much to look forward to down the road. That's me, in a nutshell. I have a few hobbies, don't get me wrong. This blog is one, reading, commenting on the news, walking, working in the yard, doing odd chores around the house and visiting my kids and grandkids are all things I do and most of the time look forward to.

Folks I got no answer yet on the last two questions. The first was not a question as much as it was an imploring; urging God or entreating Him to intervene for the good of the church and its members. My heart was pure on that one. I did not mean for, nor do I expect God to motivate or manipulate people into the church door so as to make my attendance look good or to make me feel better. I just don't know what to do for the people to give them the sense of urgency and their need to be spiritually fed, lest they starve to death - spiritually.

I know, I know - you can lead the horse to water, but you can't make him drink. Like my preaching professor in seminary used to say, you can hold their hands when the going gets tough, but they can and many will turn loose of your hands when the going looks good.

Folks, I am truly tired of me being overly concerned for my church. I have to face the fact that either God is continuing to prone the tree or He is just letting it go. If the former, then I wonder how much more pruning can the tree take before it is completely bare? From my standpoint, it can't take too much more. If it is the latter, how much time do we have before the plug needs to get pulled?

Today's blog is not one that encourages people to go to church, much less to attend my church. But I (no, WE) always welcome victors and guest and really want people to join us. It's just a hard thing for us, considering the new church down the road is reaching out to literally everyone under 60 to join them in a building program coming complete with bowling allies, tennis courts, gymnasiums, an Olympic sized swimming pool and an-all purpose family life center complete with a stage for music concerts and plays to seat over 2,000 people. Not one, not two, not three, but four bands, forty children's groups with over 200 children and youth workers, 70 small groups meeting in various homes for study and praise and the promise of being the only church in town offering everything for everybody.

Too bad I am over 60. Maybe I could fit in somewhere there, but I really don't want to be entertained and made to feel good (as this church is set up to do). I want to worship God and study His word and help other understand His will. Entertainment is the complete watering down of the Gospel and dancing in the aisle is the pill that is taken to feel good. The Bible is the Word of God. Tell me what it SAYS! Explain it. Tell me about the precious gems it contains. Don't tell me what it MEANS!

I will say this about my preaching. I study and preach the Bible from the Hebrew text of the Old Testament and the Greek text of the New. I present what the Bible says by interpreting it:

 1) Lexically (telling my people what the words mean);

2) Grammatically (who is acting and/or being acted upon);

3) Historically (to whom was this letter written, what is going on to call for it to be written, customs and manners at the time)

4) Contextually (what do the verses before and after say as to their bearing on the meaning of the text) - By the way, this is something not even Joel Osteen does, or knows how to do as is the case with almost every "feel good" preacher out there.

5) Analogy of the Rest of the Bible (how does the text explained with the help of the rest of Scripture, other passages and the like)

So, I can say that I preach what the Bible says, not what it means. In my Tuesday Bible Studies we get a little deeper. I would tell all those "feel good" and "How to" preachers that I get my people to dig while they get their people to be content walking on the surface.

Here is a thing: Does one find diamonds and gold on top of the ground, or do you most likely have to dig to find them?

I have a "digging" church. The problem is we are getting fewer and fewer. I guess when you get old, you start thinking you can't dig anymore. My idea in the first request is that God would give my people the strength to keep digging - that's all! The word "retirement" should never be in any Christian's vocabulary.

Please, oh Lord, give my people the strength to carry on and to keep on digging. Help them to find the gold that is in your Word and keep them from becoming complacent at a time when the whole world is fast moving into complacency.

Blog for March 28 Blog for March 30

Blogging

Blogs are about the blogger. It's as if he or she merely toots their own horns about the things they do, say and love.

My life is boring. I read, I watch Glenn Beck and Mark Levin. I listen to Andrew Wilkow. I engage in some conversation with those who are willing to listen (they being masochistic and enjoy killing themselves with my banter).

I plan on just laying out the things that bother me and the things I love. Nothing in-between. I hope you find whatever I put here amusing.